Tuesday, August 20

Making Money Selling Concert Tickets

I just made $2,200 profit selling two concert tickets.

A couple months ago I bid on the chance to purchase premium seats to see Madonna.  I bid in multiple cities - I knew there would be a lot of demand - and I won the chance to buy tickets for a show in Chicago.  These were primo seats - front row, center.  The package I bought included the seats as well as some additional bonuses like a pre-show party and photo on stage (sadly, no meet and greet).

As a kid, I was the biggest Madonna fan.  I've never seen her in concert, so I was willing to spend a lot for this special opportunity.  Alas, once I purchased the tickets, there was a little bit of buyer's remorse.  I started to think about what I could have done with the money.  For example, last week we went to see Live/Bush/Our Lady Peace and had fourth row seats that only cost $99 each.  I could see 16 concerts like that for what I paid for the Madonna tickets.  I could go on a really nice Mediterranean cruise and pay all my travel - flights, hotel and cruise - for what I paid for these tickets.

Happily, Ticketmaster has a Verified Resale program.  I discovered it a couple years ago when we had to sell our Bruno Mars tickets because of a work conflict.  I made a decent profit on my Bruno Mars tickets, and they weren't anywhere near the stage.  Not all artists or venues allow resale.  In fact, I don't know how to determine this before actually purchasing the tickets.  Fortunately, this concert allowed for it.  Since I still was okay with keeping the tickets if they didn't sell, I offered them at what I thought was a ridiculous figure: over $3,000 each.  A few weeks went by and nothing.  Then, I get an email last week telling me they sold.

Total profit:  $2,233.38

My jaw dropped.  So, I have learned a new way to make a little money on the side.  Since I can't identify before I buy the tickets whether they are allowed to be resold, I would only do this for an artist I would enjoy seeing anyway.  In this case, I'm going to see Madonna still, just not from the front row.  After she announced the initial dates, Madonna added a mini-residency in Miami, which wouldn't require air travel.  So technically, since I also canceled our flight to Chicago (so glad I booked on Southwest!), I did even better than the $2,200 profit.  Now, I can see her for free, using the profits I made selling the other seats.

One key to making the most profit is to buy the best possible seats.  People are obviously willing to pay to experience front row center.  Recently I was reading an article about this very idea:  I think it was Steve Wynn (yes, an older article) who discussed the idea that people will pay big bucks to feel like they are getting a one-of-a-kind experience.

Wednesday, August 14

I Paid Off my Student Loans!

Quick update from the steamy swamps of Tampa Bay...

I've been working tirelessly this year to simplify my finances by eliminating accounts and paying off debt.  August marks a major milestone:  I have now paid off my student loan debt.

Getting rid of my student loans wasn't about saving on interest:  I consolidated at the perfect time and my interest rate was only 1.625%.  It was about eliminating a monthly debit from my checking account.  The psychological affect - one less bill every month, one less form to file on my taxes, one less account to track on my monthly spreadsheet - was more important than anything else.

So, with that, there's a new, more noble goal:  pay off the mortgage on my rental property.  I owe about $58,000 on it, and pay $449/month.  Getting this paid off will have a noticeable impact on my cash flow.

Monday, August 12

Cut, cut, cut...

If it doesn't "spark joy", why are you doing it?  Not to steal a phrase from Marie Kondo, but it's true.  We often spend money on things that don't make our lives better.  I've been questioning why I'm spending money on everything lately.  With that, it's cut, cut, cut.

  • After satisfying our 12 month agreement, I called to cancel our Busch Gardens passes.  We were paying $30/month for them, and in the last year we visited once for about two hours.  What a waste.
  • I've been thinking about canceling Netflix for a period of time.  More and more I notice that new movies aren't coming to Netflix.  My queue is loaded with content made by Netflix while noticeably void of movies that actually played in theaters.  Don't get me wrong - overall I love having Netflix.  But it seems like canceling for 90 days or so wouldn't hurt us at all.  We still have Sling and Amazon Prime.  Doing this would save around $50 with basically no consequences.  For now, I'm testing a downgrade.  I changed from the $12.99/mo HD plan for 4 devices to the $8.99/mo standard plan for one device at a time.  It's $4/month in savings... I want to see if we'll notice a difference in video quality.  Canceling altogether is still on the table.
  • I would love to find a way to reduce the cost of the big stuff, but how?  Auto insurance with GEICO - I've had auto insurance for more than 25 years, never filed a claim.  What am I getting for my $100/month besides piece of mind?  Same with health insurance.  I cut that cost down to $379/month this year, but that's still $379 more per month than I spend in actual costs.  I haven't filed a single claim with my insurer.
  • Same goes for the rental properties.  Do I really need termite protection?  What about property insurance - having never filed a claim, the premiums I have paid since becoming a landlord in 2006 could have nearly paid to replace one of my properties.
I'm taking a hard look at all recurring costs.  The immediate benefit, simplifying my finances, is all the motivation I need.  But knowing the money I earn isn't being wasted is just as important.

Thursday, August 8

My Frugal Miser - July Expenses: $9,390

July was an expensive month.  Fortunately my income exceeded my spending.  My Sonata has over 192,000 miles on it.  I don't have a car payment, but it does require some repairs every now and then.  Last month I replaced the serpentine belt and the rear suspension.  Spending on gas was also higher because I drove for Uber and Lyft some and did a lot of Amazon deliveries.

Spending on food and fun was higher last month.  We went to Costa Rica for a month, which accounts for a lot of it.  Last thing to mention:  $1,600 of my spending was directed as an overpayment of my student loans.  Not really an expense.  I'm getting really close to having those paid off.

July Business Spending:  $2,944
July Personal Spending:  $6,446

July Expenses:  $9,390

$1,150 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$49 Bank Fees
$214 Clothing/ Personal Care
$570 Fun (vacations movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$470 Food
$530 Health & Dental
$1,482 Household/Mortgage Payment/Home Repair
$0 Interest Expense
$1,608 Miscellaneous (Student loan overpayment)
$117 Taxes includes quarterly tax payments
$25 App Jobs Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$58 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
($476) Reimbursed Employee Expenses income this month
$256 Utilities
$1,445  Rental Property Expenses
$1,892 AirBNB Expenses